Crystal Writes A Blog

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Counting Sheep

Counting Sheep by Flickr User Tim Green, CC License = Attribution

Counting Sheep by Flickr User Tim Green, CC License = Attribution
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original image and to access the user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

I once bought a mattress set just because I could get one of those Serta Counting Sheep with it. Actually, it wasn’t just any counting sheep, it was a pink one to honor survivors and victims of breast cancer. I found a picture of one amongst someone’s collection of counting sheep at Flickr at, but you have to visit there since it has an all rights reserved copyright on it. I gotta wonder, though, what the sheep in the picture above thought of being written on. They don’t look like they mind too much. 🙂

Anyway, in today’s reading from Numbers 29:12 through Numbers 30:1 (in the Complete Jewish Bible) and Numbers 29:12 through Numbers 29:40 (in the Amplified and other translations), we conclude another week of Torah with instructions on celebrating the feast of Sukkot. The feast begins on the 15th day of the 7th month on the Jewish calendar, and it runs for seven days. The details for the celebration are repeated from older readings, but since they have a countdown included in the sacrifices, I’ll list those just so you can do like me and see the totals offered. God told Israel to sacrifice as follows…

  • On day one: 13 bulls, 2 rams, 14 lambs.
  • On day two: 12 bulls, 2 rams, 14 lambs.
  • On day three: 11 bulls, 2 rams, 14 lambs.
  • On day four: 10 bulls, 2 rams, 14 lambs.
  • On day five: 9 bulls, 2 rams, 14 lambs.
  • On day six: 8 bulls, 2 rams, 14 lambs.
  • On day seven: 7 bulls, 2 rams, 14 lambs.

The eighth day, Simchat Torah, is a festive assembly that also includes sacrifices, but this time it is 1 bull, 1 ram, 7 lambs, and 1 goat. All these sacrifices are in addition to the regular vows and voluntary offerings, and they all require lambs that are in their first year and without defect. Every sacrifice also has a grain and drink offering that accompanies it.

If you’re like me, you noticed the countdown of the bulls from 13 to 7, and maybe you even counted all the animals to see how many were sacrificed in one week. If you didn’t, don’t worry. Here’s the counts I came up with: 70 bulls for the first week plus the 1 on the festival day is 71; then 14 rams plus 1 is 15; then 98 lambs plus 7 is 105; plus 1 goat. That’s a total of 192 animals in addition to the regular offerings.

I know that God doesn’t do anything arbitrarily, so I’m certain there are specific reasons for the numbers of animals He told Israel to sacrifice. Two things I noticed about the bulls. First, I don’t read where they were required to be without defect like the lambs. Then, I noticed the bulls in the week of “Tabernacles” (Sukkot), numbered seventy. When Scripture speaks of “the nations,” it is referring to the 70 nations that were not Israel.

Did God have Israel sacrifice that number of bulls each year to represent His mercy toward non-Jews to allow them to become converted? I don’t know for sure, but I do know that He has always had mercy on all men–before, during, and since the formation of Israel as a nation, and it would not surprise me to find that an exact number of bulls was sacrificed to represent an exact number of gentiles who were saved before Yeshua shed His blood for all mankind. Tabernacles (or tents) represent our temples of flesh, so it would be the perfect feast to represent salvation for all by sacrificing both bulls and clean lambs. Whatever it meant then, I do know the blood of Christ now makes us all lambs in the flock of God, and we are counted as children in God’s family.

And with that, I bid you Shabbat Shalom, and enjoy this video by ApologetiX with a parody of the song “Barbara Ann” called “Baa, We’re Lambs”…


July 4, 2014 - Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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